Master of Arts in Eastern Classics

In the Master of Arts in Eastern Classics (MAEC) graduate program at St. John’s College, classes approach original texts entirely through discussion, where students encounter the great works that are central to the philosophical, literary, and religious traditions of China, India, and Japan. Students and faculty alike examine each text’s most vital questions—questions that are fundamental to both Eastern thought and human nature.

What is the Master of Arts in Eastern Classics?

Offered on our Santa Fe campus, this graduate program takes St. John’s discussion-based approach and applies it to the great works of the East.


What We Read

From Confucius to the Bhagavad Gita to The Tale of the Heike, the Eastern Classics curriculum is wide and varied in scope. View the reading list.


It’s where East meets West. Delve into classic works of the Eastern tradition in the sun-soaked Southwest. The MAEC consists of 34 credit hours, completed in one calendar year on the Santa Fe campus, beginning in the fall and concluding in the summer.

Classes meet in late afternoons and evening to accommodate students who work part-time. Due to the intensive nature of the program, we do not recommend full-time employment during the program. Schedule a visit.


All classes are 20 or fewer students in order to nurture a collaborative learning environment, creating space for every voice around the table to listen and be heard. Each semester contains three classes. This style of teaching is adapted from our undergraduate programs and is one of the reasons we are named one of the Colleges That Change Lives.


The seminar begins with the texts of classical China, followed by texts from India. The seminar explores the migration of Buddhism from India to China and Japan, and concludes with Japanese literature in the summer term.


The ambitious reach of the seminar is complemented by smaller classes called preceptorials. A small group of students study a single work or theme for an eight-week period, and as each class builds upon the themes addressed in the one before, the preceptorial allows for an especially rich learning experience.

Language Tutorial

In the language tutorial, students undertake an intensive study of either Sanskrit or Classical Chinese. The goal is not mastery, but to enable students to gain sufficient familiarity with the elements of the language to be able to translate selected short passages from classical texts. Students often report that the language tutorial, while being the most difficult part of their studies, is also the most rewarding.

Request Information

Do you have a question about the Master of Arts in Eastern Classics? Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions in Santa Fe.